Telephone Marketers May Attempt to Lure You Into Payments or Identity Theft

Recently, the Office of the People’s Counsel has received numerous reports of utility scams targeting seniors, low- and moderate-income consumers and limited English-speaking District consumers. Based on information from consumers and discussions on neighborhood Listservs, these scams involve robotic and live telephone calls offering either “reduced utility rates” or “special” energy rates for seniors.

In each instance, the scammers will ask for your account or social security numbers. Sometimes the scammers will tell you that your service will be shut off unless you make an immediate payment to them. Because scammers have become more sophisticated, OPC warns consumers to be ALERT:

 NEVER give telephone solicitors any personal or account information such as your social security number, utility account number or credit card number.

 NEVER agree to make a payment using a “green dot” or fast payment card at a convenience store.

 BEFORE making any decision regarding your utility service, check with your energy supplier for your current account balance to ensure that your service is not going to be disconnected.

 DO NOT be pressured to choose a “limited time” offer to sign up. Ask for any offer made by phone to be provided to you in writing, so that you can review it carefully.

 Unless there is a public safety emergency, Pepco and Washington Gas Light companies will not come to your home or make rate offers by telephone.